The Art of Resistance

The Art of Resistance

99-year-old literature professor Justus Rosenberg escaped the Holocaust and spent four daring years in the French Underground during World War II. Now he finally writes his own unforgettable epic. 

“A gripping memoir from an Eastern European Jew who fought in the French Resistance. … The narrative tension is continuous, as Rosenberg recalls imprisonments, escapes from confinement, and successful missions against the Nazis.” —Kirkus (starred review) 


The Art of Resistance is unlike any World War II memoir before it. Its author, Justus Rosenberg, has spent the past seventy years teaching the classics of literature to American college students. Hidden within him, however, was a remarkable true story of wartime courage and romance worthy of a great novel. Here is Professor Rosenberg’s elegant and gripping chronicle of his youth in Nazi-occupied Europe, when he risked everything to stand against evil.


In 1937, after witnessing a violent Nazi mob in his hometown of Danzig, a majority German city on the Baltic Sea, sixteen-year-old Justus Rosenberg was sent by his Jewish parents to Paris to finish his education in safety. Three years later, the Nazis came again, as France fell to the Germans. Alone and in danger, Justus fled Paris, heading south. A chance meeting led him to Varian Fry, an American journalist in Marseille who led a clandestine network helping thousands of men and women—including many legendary artists and intellectuals, among them Hannah Arendt, Marc Chagall, Andre Breton, and Max Ernst—escape the Nazis. With his intimate understanding of French and German culture, and fluency in several languages, including English, Justus became an invaluable member of Fry’s operation as a spy and scout.

After the Vichy government expelled Fry from France, Justus worked in Grenoble, recruiting young men and women for the Underground Army. For the next four years, he would be an essential component of the Resistance, relying on his wits and skills to survive several close calls with death. Once, he found himself in a Nazi internment camp, with his next stop Auschwitz—and yet Justus found an ingenious way to escape. He two years during the war gathering intelligence, surveying German installations and troop movements on the Mediterranean. Then, after the allied invasion at Normandy in 1944, Justus became a guerrilla fighter, participating in and leading commando raids to disrupt the German retreat across France.

At the end of the Second World War, Justus emigrated to America, and built a new life. For the past fifty years, he has taught literature at Bard College, shaping the inner lives of generations of students. Now he adds his own story to the library of great coming-of-age memoirs: The Art of Resistance is a powerful saga of bravery and defiance, a true-life spy thriller touched throughout by a professor’s wisdom. 

Title:The Art of Resistance
ISBN:9780062742216
Format Type:

    The Art of Resistance Reviews

  • Linden

    Dr. Rosenberg, a 98 year old retired university professor, has an amazing story to tell. He went from the free city of Danzig, to the Sorbonne in Paris, to working for the French Resistance, with many...

  • Sarah-Hope

    The At of Resistance offers an interesting, if somewhat rambling, look into life in World War II France. The author originally traveled to France to attend the Sorbonne, but found himself working to h...

  • Lauren Stoolfire

    I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.If you're going to read any World War II memoir this year make sure it's Justus Rosenberg's The Art of Resistance. Rosenberg is curren...

  • Anne

    What an engaging, interesting and ultimately moving book. This memoir is very direct and plain, telling the story of Rosenberg's years in France during WWII.This is another view into the many ways in ...

  • Molly

    THE ART OF RESISTANCE This was a terrific memoir. Written by 99 year old Justus Rosenberg, he tells the story of his youth as a Jewish survivor during WWII serving in the French Resistance. Born in th...

  • Melhara

    I was initially going to give this book 3 stars but the epilogue ended on such a strong and powerful note, I felt compelled to boost the rating to 4 stars. Justus Rosenburg is one of the very few surv...

  • Barbara

    Justus Rosenberg was a very determined man who was wise beyond his years during World War II. Today, in his upper 90’s, he has an awesome memory with details that are fascinating about his role in t...

  • Chris Dietzel

    Not bad by any means but every WWII account / biography / memoir I've read has been better. Rosenberg writes with a detached coldness that makes most of the events seem bland, and many of the stories ...

  • Corin

    It's an interesting and important story, but it's told very clinically and I had a hard time empathizing with the author. Any feelings he had or has seem very remote - he tells us he cares, but the re...

  • John McDonald

    " . . . [w]e need to champion the notion that all human beings are equal and deserve to be treated as such. "We need to be alert to the dangers and nip them in the bud." Justs Rosenberg, The Art of Re...